Polako, polako – my struggle to learn the Croatian language Part 1

Six months ago Doka and I arrived back here in Korcula having spent Christmas and New Year with my family in New Zealand.

We moved back to Korcula to open our own business here, we arrived with very lots of motivation and belief in our business but with very little start up money, no premises to work from and no working papers! When I reflect now I find it quite amazing what we have achieved in 6 months.

Here is the space that we are now working from – up until 15 April 2011 Seba Dizajn was home to a small bar or kanobar, we had on several occasions sat here and had a drink, but never thought it would become home to our business venture.

The last hurrah!
Ruth Seba in kanobar with previous owner.

It was during our first few weeks back in Croatia while we were running about trying to get paperwork organised etc that I kept hearing ‘polako, polako!’, literally translated as ‘slowly, slowly’.  An easy word to pick up and pronounce, and one that sums up Korcula life very well.

Generally it appears there is no hurry to get anything done. In some ways this is a very nice concept, however I am someone who is used to running about and getting things done when I need them done.  I excel at slowly, slowly when I am on holiday but as an approach to work or by workers here I found it very frustrating at times.

I remember asking Doka one day, ‘What is the Croatian word for fast?’

I still don’t know!! And he often tells this like some sort of joke here, and Croatian people find it very funny… but I just want to get things moving along at a kiwi girl pace.

(nb. Croatian for fast = postiti, not one we hear very often but I will try to remember it for future reference)

There is so much to learn, I seem to have picked up a lot of ‘shop talk’ which is helpful but I am often lost when words come at me very fast.  Thank goodness English is so widely spoken, when I was at school in New Zealand I never thought about learning another language (although one friend and I did attempt a correspondence Japanese course for a few weeks).

There has been so much else to do that my language ‘lessons’ have not been prioritized, now that our season is winding down I need to focus on the language, polako, polako!

Polako - good things take time! I love the laugh that my in-laws are sharing in this photo.

What’s your favourite foreign language word?


About Seba Silver

In June 2011 my wife and I opened a small store on the beautiful Dalmatian Island of Korcula. Our store (Seba Dizajn) showcases stunning filigree jewellery, all work is made on site offering you the fascinating chance to see filigree jewellery being made. Visit us at www.sebasilver.com to see and purchase some of our filigree jewellery. The Seba family have been working, and creating beautiful pieces of filigree jewellery for over 500 years.
This entry was posted in Hodge Podge Posts - all the other bits, Korcula and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Polako, polako – my struggle to learn the Croatian language Part 1

  1. Helz-Design says:

    nice way of taking life 🙂
    polako – have to remember it although i might not use it here.

    reminds me a bit of my former brother in law.
    a nice man, very helpful and very experienced when it comes to stuff in the house.
    but his standard sentence before starting a job is “I am going to smoke a cigarette first”.

    i can.t really recall a favorite word in english – since this is my foreign language.
    i am sometimes catched by the way a word is spelled or by the sound. but that can happen to me in german as well as in english.

    one word i like is “superstition” — took me ages to pronounce it correctly.
    not sure if am able to do it now.

    sometimes i am catched by similarities between german and english
    german “bekommen” = to get
    english become is in german “werden” or begin

    but that sometimes creates confusion.

    • Seba Silver says:

      So much fun to be had with words! I love the ones that sound like they mean – like zip! simple and easy to undertand. Think your brother in law would’ve got on well here!!

      • Helz-Design says:

        you can also try to invent words 🙂 like children.
        that.s also much fun.

        yeah my brother in law would have got on well there – i am sure 🙂

        zip is a fantastic word 🙂 love it too.

      • Seba Silver says:

        Think I may have invented some here without meaning too! But at least my rubbish pronounciation gives everyone a smile.

  2. Helz-Design says:

    is it difficult for you to pronounce the words?

    i strongly believe that i am talking without accent – in my ears my english sounds so wonderfully american – at least my friends talk about how much they like the german accent 😛

    • Seba Silver says:

      It is more than difficult for ME to pronounce the majority of the words, but some are easy enough, ie, Polako!
      What I find hard is looking at the words in newspaper etc and NOTHIING looks familiar, and mostly I am not sue how to begin with pronouncing them…

  3. showard76 says:

    I love that, polako! what a great word. I can’t think what my favorite word is, probably a Latin word as I love the saying ‘Dolce et decorum est pro patria mori’ all the words sound like flowers to me! lol

    • Seba Silver says:

      Hi Sharon, thanks for joining us! What does your Latin ‘flowery phrase’ mean? Will have to think of a favourite Croatian phrase I can write about next week….

      • showard76 says:

        It means ‘how sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country’ It’s from a WW1 poem by Wilfred Owen 🙂

      • Seba Silver says:

        thanks! We studied his poetry in high school, but I don’t think that was one of ours. I am a poetry fan, but I think it will be a while before they make any sense in Croatian!

Would love to hear your comments and feedback, please leave your comments below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s